University life can be a challenge even for confident graduates. А first-year students may be unprepared to be a small fish in a big shoal-what about those who suffer from low self-esteem. Friendships, relationships, jobs-we get what we think we deserve. At university, away from already established connections, self-esteem matters more than anywhere else.
“Living away from home and studying independently, coupled with financial difficulties and social integration problems, can seriously shake self-confidence,” says Chris Bale, a senior psychology professor at Huddersfield University. – How students cope with all this has long-term implications for their self-esteem.”
It’s encouraging that most people adapt to their environment and successfully overcome all challenges, which helps them build a sustainable self-esteem system for the future. There are six myths in front of you that shouldn’t get in the way of this in any way.
- You won’t have anyone to support you
If you think that you are alone with your future, know that this is not true: Universities are interested in finding good jobs. There are always people willing to help, though perhaps not immediately. Knock on the door in the internship office or your advisor’s office. Even if you do not get a job here and now, talking about the prospects will help put your mind at ease and realize that you have all the skills an employer needs or, conversely, to understand what is missing in time and use the time remaining until graduation wisely.
- You must have a plan
Learn and enjoy the moment. Tony Chapman, professor of theory and practice at Durham University, believes that students are much more anxious about their choices than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Part of that has to do with parental pressure: “Even before a student attends the first couple of their course, some parents demand that they give a detailed account of where their chosen major will lead and what they will do.”
This pressure adds stress, especially to students in their final years or during exams. Studying will be more enjoyable and productive if you focus on the present moment. If you’re not quite sure where you’re headed after university, that’s perfectly fine.
- You need to fit in
“Dorm parties” and other types of social integration can be an excellent tool for “pumping up” your self-esteem. But if drinking competitions and naked jogging in public places don’t fit your idea of fun, that’s okay – you don’t have to participate.
“Every university has a variety of totally different ways to bond with people and have a good time – there are dorm hangouts, sports events, as well as debates, theater or movie club,” Bob Atwell says.
The student councils at all colleges do many activities to get the first-year students reacquainted, but even if you’re in your second, third, or fourth year, it’s never too late to find some company. And it’s okay if it’s not the most fun, by all accounts, the party, even if it is a company of one person – as long as you do not feel that you constantly have to “fit” to someone or something.
- If you lack self-confidence, you won’t have any friends
Self-confidence is the very thing that most people acquire and develop during university. It is very unlikely that you will remain the same person who took the entrance exams when you graduate from it.
“Your well-established social circle, your close friends, all stay at home. You’re suddenly thrown into a crowd of other people, each an individual with a different background,” says Chris Bale. – Some people will feel like fish in water, while others will have to overcome themselves, building new connections away from their previous sources of support.
Change is always a good thing. And as Tony Chapman points out, there are so many related factors that come into play that shape self-esteem at university – whether students live at home, on campus, or in the dorms: “It’s not easy to work being away from home. But this getting out of your comfort zone is a critical social and behavioral challenge.”
- There will be too many tasks, and you won’t cope with them
A training plan is made according to the right workload. If you do everything consistently on time, you won’t have any problems. But if any topic requires a more detailed explanation, you can ask your classmate or teacher to explain you in more detail. There are also a lot of extra resources such as paper writer service, different study apps, free courses, and other study resources that will save you time and reduce stress in front of a lot of assignments.
- Need to be perfect
Social media is the most powerful tool of peer pressure on self-esteem. A quick look at the Instagram feed is enough for most of us to feel miserable. Endless photos from parties, perfect selfies – all of this is unbearable, even if you understand that these shots were carefully chosen to create the right impression.
When evaluating their attractiveness, social status, and success, they inevitably compare themselves to others.
If you catch yourself doing this, remember that the same social media gives people the opportunity to present themselves as more attractive, famous, and successful than they are. Don’t compare yourself to unrealistic portraits.
- The louder, the better
If nothing fills you with fear more than having to answer or speak up in a lecture, try to take it more accessible. Being the loudest doesn’t always mean being the most confident. It also doesn’t mean you’re saying anything worthwhile.
“People can cultivate a sense of self-confidence by transcending fears and feelings of insecurity. It’s about the impression you make,” Bale says.
Choose carefully when to speak up. Nothing will make you feel more confident in a lecture or seminar than knowing the subject and making a reasoned point.
“People don’t want to raise their hand because they’re afraid of looking stupid. This happens not only in learning but also in work,” says Bob Atwell. – Confidence is the key to success, and the university’s job is to support the student and make them feel that their judgment is essential and worth voicing.”
To summarize, I’ll say this: the university is not a school. You are free to choose your environment your manner of behavior to feel in your place, without adjusting to anyone. And this, by the way, is one of the most essential life skills, which may come in handy more than the ability to choose the best photos for the tape.